Double Barrel Cannon

Corner of College Avenue & Hancock Avenue, Athens, GA,

Double barrel cannon


Front view

Photo taken by Eddie Douthitt in June 2010



Street View 


Designed and built in 1862 by John Gilleland at a cost of $350.00 dollars. First tested on April 22nd 1862, and aimed at a target of two upright poles, uneven detonation of the powder and casting imperfections in the barrels gave the connected balls a spinning movement in an off-center direction, with witnesses reporting that on it first firing it "plowed up about an acre of ground, tore up a cornfield, mowed down saplings, and then the chain broke, the two balls going in different directions.On its second firing the chain shot across the horizon and into a thicket of pine. "The thicket of young pines at which it was aimed looked as if a narrow cyclone or a giant mowing machine had passed through", reported another witness. On its third firing the chain snapped immediately and one ball tore into a nearby cabin, knocking down its chimney, the other spun off erratically and struck a nearby cow, killing it instantly. Gilleland considered the test-firings a success.Gilleland tried to promote his invention to the Confederate States Army's arsenal in Augusta, Georgia, where it was found unfit for its purpose. He continued to try to promote his invention to other military leaders around Augusta, but failed to interest anyone. Finally the cannon was used as a signal gun in Athens to warn against advancing Yankees.

Update Log 

  • November 2, 2015: Updated by Michael Miller: Corrected "GPS Coordinates" and Added "Street View"
  • July 2, 2010: Added by Eddie Douthitt


  • Eddie Douthitt - eddied1962 [at] charter [dot] net
  • Michael Miller - michael_a_miller [at] yahoo [dot] com


The Athens Double Barrel Cannon
Posted July 5, 2010, by J.P.

good point. yeah better then losing a limb.

The Athens Double Barrel Cannon
Posted July 4, 2010, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Why not? Quick and painless! Better than getting hit by something lesser, surviving, and having to face medical treatment of the time :)

The Athens Double Barrel Cannon
Posted July 2, 2010, by J.P.

would have hate to be on the business end of that bad boy.